philosophic inquiry into life and meaning

...if truth were not for man the desire for truth would not be as a burning unrest in his heart...

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Lotus rising up from mud, Licensed under CC see at a spiritual self-inquiry group retreat last June (2009) joined in on a workshop about Spiritual Actions. The workshop was called Practical/Tactical Seeking and was led by Benjamin Eternitatis. In the session, we were asked to describe our actions that we consider spiritual in detail. Then as a group we shared our responses and came to some similar conclusions.


What are spiritual actions?

Spiritual Actions

These were all suggested by more than one person:
Contemplative meditation
Working with others, group work, law of the ladder
Harding exercises
Confrontation sessions (rules of confrontation)
Accountability report (an on-line email confrontation group where you volunteer
to be held accountable for something and ask questions to others -- and they to you).
Being honest
Getting rid of long standing habits (anything that clouds the mind or gets in the way of the goal).

These were suggested:
Meditation/Self inquiry retreats (group retreats aimed at self-knowledge and friendship).
Celibacy (See the July '07 TAT Forum as well as Alan Fitzpatrick's book The Sex Connection, A Study of Desire, Seduction and Compulsion)
Spiritual reading (or other spiritual media like movies)
Getting rid of distraction
Concentration meditation
Effortless meditation (See article: Meditation: It's Not What You Think... Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)
Websites or group work
Investigating own psychology
Email discussion groups
Hanging short reminders (Keeping reminders in plain view so the habitual part of the 'routine mind' is used to accelerate the search and to go against the natural tendency of mind to forget).
Rapport sitting, Richard Rose on Rapport sitting: "We would call it a 'rapport meeting.' Waiting for mental realizations to occur. There is nothing 'weird' about these sittings, they've been doing them for centuries. The early Pentecostal religion used to sit in this fashion for what they called 'tarrying.' Waiting for a message from God, if you want to call it that. The idea was sitting quietly so the 'third party' would join you, which might be the spirit of the Holy Ghost or some 'voltage.'"
Essay writing
Monitoring groups
Isolations (spending time alone for self-introspection and reflection)
Introspection on consciousness
Developing & Following Intuition

Major themes:
Group Work
Making a suitable environment (Getting house in order meaning body and immediate physical circumstances)

Metrics for Effectiveness, how to measure a spiritual action:
Clearer thinking
Returns desired result
What's needed at the moment
Makes most new things visible
More spontaneous introspection
Increased self-honesty

How do you measure spiritual actions? What makes it spiritual to you? We need some way of gauging whether or not our actions will be effective even though we have not already completed or practiced along certain lines. Our intuition is the key to give a direction or aim to the type of practice that would have the most benefit to us and our fellows on the spiritual path. Of course we must reconcile the paradox that the best spiritual action and practice is not of benefit to us or a detriment necessarily, but instead, one that reveals our own ignorance in regards to self-knowledge, who we think we are and the reality behind and beyond all of that.